2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Startup Opportunity Evaluation

#sxsw #smartstart

Imagine if you could predict whether a startup was likely to succeed, before investing considerable time and money to build and test even a minimally viable product. Many of the biggest challenges are predictable and their burden upon your startup can be avoided by asking the right questions from the beginning.

In this talk, Neal Cabage and Sonya Zhang PhD, the authors of The Smarter Startup, present a conceptual framework for systematically identifying and evaluating business opportunities against a matrix of known reasons for startup success and failure. This open source framework leverages knowledge from both academia and the real world, enabling entrepreneurs to better evaluate opportunities and investors to better anticipate a startup's challenges.


Neal Cabage


The Smarter Startup

Neal Cabage is a digital product strategist, technologist, and author, who has spent years leading the development of online products. He has worked with top online brands, spoken at leading industry conferences, and founded and sold two online startups along the way. He is the principal author of the 2013 book The Smarter Startup, a contributor for Inc.com, and continues to research why some online products succeed when many do not.

Sonya Zhang


Cal Poly Pomona University

Sonya is a Professor of Computer Information Systems at the College of Business Administration, Cal Poly Pomona. She holds a PhD in Information Systems and Technology from Claremont Graduate University, an M.S. in Computer Science, and an MBA from Illinois State University.
Sonya’s research focuses on Web Development and Optimization, eCommerce, and Internet Entrepreneurship. She has published in top journals and conferences, as well as co-authored The Smarter Startup: A Better Approach to Online Business for Entrepreneurs (Pearson New Riders).
Prior to entering academia, Sonya was a software engineer in health informatics and higher education for seven years, working with ERP, Business Intelligence, CMS, eLearning, eHealth and eCommerce products.
With her diverse academic background and extensive industry experience, Sonya develops unique insights and expertise in bridging the gap between business and technology.

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